Cal Folger Day used to play classical music on the piano, sticking strictly to the sheet music. “I was terrified to, like, make a noise that wasn’t on a piece of paper first,” she says. “I was just terrified of breaking out of that.”
The Dublin-based American singer, songwriter, and musician has come a long way since then. The change began when she took a course on medieval music. “It made me realise that the whole system was interesting but something that was developed, it wasn’t inevitable or anything,” she says.
Since then, she’s jumped headlong into writing and arranging her own music. On a recent evening, she performed some of it for an audience at Marrowbone Books in The Coombe.
She did a few songs she wrote, one Willie Nelson wrote, and some of her “verbatim music” – including a piece in which the words come from a Facebook Messenger conversation with a friend about her friend’s family’s difficulties.
“I’ve started writing these verbatim pop operas. So taking transcriptions of conversations or interviews and setting them to music and playing them with other people,” she says.
This is the eighteenth episode of Martin Cook’s Music at Marrowbone Books series of podcasts. You can listen to the other episodes here or via the Dublin Inquirer Podcast feed, which you can find on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you like to get your podcasts.